Ever feel a bit overwhelmed with where you are at in life? Maybe you are stressing about your next career move? Or perhaps it’s about where you will go to school? Maybe your relationships or lack thereof? Or maybe it’s the fact that you have absolutely nothing going on at all? Whatever the reason is, I hope that maybe my story will give you a bit of encouragement.

Over a year ago, I decided to take a big jump and start studying for my CPA exam. You see, I had taken it after I graduated college over 16 years ago, but for many different reasons, I did not pass, and for many more reasons, I decided not to pursue finishing it. By far, it has been one of the most challenging things I have ever decided to do in my entire life thus far. The sacrifice needed to focus on my studies to practically re-learn everything as well as all the ups and downs of the process has literally drained me. So….what is different this time around than last time? Why am I able to focus and put the time in even though my schedule is far busier than it was 16 years ago?

Philippians 4:13 “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

Initially, when I read this passage, I like to think that with God on my side I am like Wonder Woman, galloping on my white horse across Themyscira saving the world. Don’t get me wrong, somehow God has given me the ability to juggle all the demands he has placed in my life and I do feel a little bit like Wonder Woman, but this passage really isn’t about that.

You see, Paul wrote this while he was in prison awaiting a death sentence. Paul was facing incredible uncertainty and still wrote this book of beautiful encouragement to the Philippians. Paul had learned to become content in every situation and rejoice no matter what his future held, even though the worldly outlook was grim. He knew the ultimate prize was waiting for him in heaven. So instead of a resounding battle cry, Paul was expressing his calm resolve knowing God would lead him through his current circumstance What amazing faith to be able to have this confidence even in the most dismal situation!

So, what does this have to do with taking my CPA exam? Surely, it’s not as bad as being in prison with a death sentence hanging over your head, right? Well, no it’s not. Sometimes though, the stuff in this life can really weigh us down and make us feel like we aren’t going to make it through. We can be easily distracted and lose our focus on the one thing that matters, and that is the relationship with our Savior.

When I took my exam 16 years ago, my faith life was in pieces. I was so distracted by some of the traumatic things I had experienced that I failed to truly appreciate all the good that God was doing in my life. I chose to focus on everything that was missing in my life, instead of everything I already had. I let the chase of what I thought my life should have been cloud my true mission that I was on.

Thankfully, by God’s Grace, I have matured in my faith and have a wonderful church family that encourage me in my relationship with Jesus. I still have a long way to go, but I know that continuing to develop that relationship needs to be my number one priority. This mindset has allowed me to let go of the reins on my life a little bit and to really focus on what God has put before me. The rest will fall into place, and time after time again, it holds to be true. And yes, this means even focusing on the mammoth task of completing the CPA exam.

So, what’s before you right now? Are you letting some other things distract you from what God currently has before you now? Are you putting your relationship with Jesus first? I encourage you to make your relationship with our Savior your number one priority. Open your Bible and get to know Him a bit more. Surround yourself with Christian friends and mentors that can help you with your journey. Find that contentment Paul so beautifully professes. The rest will soon fall into place and you too will be able to say: “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”